Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Monitoring Health on the Move

Ford, Microsoft Corp, and Healthrageous announced at the Digital Health Summit, that they plan to work together to develop connected devices to help people monitor and maintain health and wellness while in their cars. Since trends show that people are spending more time in their cars, researchers will examine how to extend health management into the personal vehicle in a nonintrusive way while people are on the move.

“With the tremendous growth in mobile healthcare solutions, Ford is dedicated to understanding the value of connecting to health and wellness-related services while driving,” said Gary Strumolo, Manager of Infotainment, Interiors, Health and Wellness at Ford Research and Innovation.

As Strumolo explained “Our connectivity platform Ford SYNC provides easy voice-controlled access to mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets and it makes sense to research areas that are important to our customers. Customer research and societal trends suggest that there is a strong business case for Ford to explore opportunities in health and wellness technology.”

A prototype system being developed by BlueMetal Architects is leveraging Ford SYNC® technology, Microsoft HealthVault, Windows Azure, and the interactive services Healthrageous provides in conjunction with compatible biometric measurement devices.

The prototype system would capture biometric and vehicle data as the basis for real-time health and wellness advice and monitoring. The driver can provide voice inputs plus other details on their health routine such as the number of glasses of water consumed during the day or what pills they take.

The data would then be uploaded into the HealthVault cloud, at which point, the data would be transferred to Windows Azure. Then the information would be processed with other health data to create graphical reports that drivers can access after leaving the vehicle.

Since last year, medical and healthcare was the third-fastest growing category of smartphone apps, with more than 17,000 available for download. By 2015, this market is expected to reach $392 million according to a new Frost and Sullivan report and 500 million people are expected to use mobile healthcare apps. As Strumolo explained, “These trends point to a natural role for the automobile in the emerging digital health and wellness field.”

For more details, email Alan Hall at ahall32@ford.com, Mike Werner at mikewe@bluemetal.com or Emily Rosen at Emily.Rosen@hkstrategies.com.